Here’s to hoping that all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving. But the show must go on. For the Chicago Bears, the team faces the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in a game that many feel the Bears have to win. After Monday night’s debacle against the San Francisco 49ers, the Bears have made several changes. Left guard Chilo Rachal is no longer with team after his poor reaction to the news of his demotion in favor of Chris Spencer; and Gabe Carimi will no longer be the starting right tackle, at least against the Vikings as Jonathan Scott will get the start at right tackle on Sunday.
The biggest question for the Chicago Bears entering Sunday’s game is the status of starting quarterback Jay Cutler. From the surface, Cutler has the look of a quarterback that plans to be starting on Sunday. Cutler participated in his weekly radio show, addressed the media from Halas Hall, and was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday. From those events alone, we know that Cutler has been cleared by the Bears’ training staff. However, one last hurdle remains before Cutler can officially be ruled as the team’s starting quarterback for Sunday’s game. That last hurdle is that Cutler still needs to be cleared by an independent physician.
Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith addressed reporters on Friday,and Smith told reporters that Cutler will undergo the independent evaluation on Saturday.
“He has progressed as we wanted him to do,” Smith said. “As I’ve said, it’s looking good. One more step to get him evaluated by an independent neurologist. Jay Cutler is getting better, was able to do more than he did yesterday.” ESPN Chicago
Interesting enough, the Bears have ruled Cutler as questionable for Sunday’s game. That determination likely is the result of Cutler having yet to undergo the independent evaluation. Once Cutler undergoes the evaluation, then afterwards there should be a clearer update on whether or not Cutler will play on Sunday. The sentiment throughout the week among Cutler’s teammates was that the quarterback was going to play on Sunday. Though, history shows that during Smith’s time as head coach of the Bears, a player listed as questionable on the team’s injury report generally does not play. Labeling Cutler as questionable also gives the Bears’ wiggle room if they were to decide to sit him out one more game.
Oddly enough, Cutler’s situation this week is similar to one the Bears were facing last week. Leading into their game against the Bears this past Monday, the 49ers listed their starting quarterback Alex Smith as probable and the expectation was that Smith would start the game for the 49ers. As we know now, Smith was not the starting quarterback as the 49ers announced Monday morning that the quarterback did not receive clearance to play. It wouldn’t be too surprising if Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith opts to wait to name his starting quarterback until Sunday. For what it’s worth, Jason Campbell is listed as probable on the injury report with bruised ribs.